Training for new commercial truck drivers in Alberta is set to become mandatory in the wake of the Humboldt bus crash.
Transportation Minister Brian Mason made the announcement in Calgary on Tuesday, a little over three months after 16 people were killed and 13 more were injured in the tragic crash in Saskatchewan.
“The horrible tragedy at Humboldt was a real impetus for today’s announcement. The matters that we’re working on today were things that we were working on at that time,” Mason said at a press conference at the Alberta Motor Transport Association headquarters in Calgary.
“Safety on Alberta roads is a top priority and a commitment of our government. We have laid the groundwork for changes that will enhance safety and improve services for Albertans,” he added.
The new rules are set to be put in place from as early as January 2019, along with a number of other safety regulation changes, including possible safety compliance reviews for all new carriers “within nine to 12 months” of a company starting operations.
“The Alberta Motor Transport Association puts safety above all when it comes to the transportation industry,” said Chris Nash, president, Alberta Motor Transport Association. “We believe minimum standard training is required for both new and existing commercial drivers and carriers to operate on Alberta’s roadways. We look forward to working with government to develop standard training in the transportation industry.”
Alberta plans to introduce mandatory training and enhanced road and knowledge tests for drivers seeking to obtain Class 1 (tractor trailer), Class 2 (bus) and S (school bus) licences.
The province also plans on getting rid of temporary 60-day safety certificates for newly registered trucking companies, with Mason stating the move will eliminate “the chameleon carrier” — a trucking company suspended for safety violations that “then simply changes the name and reopens and continues to operate.”
“That’s been a particular problem for the province of Alberta,” Mason said. “We’re the only province that issues these temporary safety certificates and we’re going to be ending that practice. Carriers will have to comply with requirements of a safety certificate before they can start operation, not after.”